Trump Trumps Logic

He is entertaining. He is. God, I love that hair. And that apricot face. I love it so much that I’ve taken to swirling my hair around my head, throwing orange paint on my face, putting on a suit, repeating and exaggerating  what he says, performing him at comedy shows and making people laugh.

See, look:

As regards Trump’s acceptance speech last night, Gary Kasparov, former World Chess Champion turned dissident Russian politician, said, “It’s Demagoguery 101: When you don’t have actual answers, exaggerate the problems with fear & hatred in order to blind people with emotion.” He further tweeted: “I’ve heard this sort of speech a lot in the last 15 years and trust me, it doesn’t sound any better in Russian.”

Bingo. Screw logic and instead, hammer on the emotional. It doesn’t matter what he says; his supporters love him anyway. Melania’s plagiarism? Big deal. They don’t care. Lies during the primaries , lies since then… Because they have a faith in him that trumps the facts. Trump … trumps.

Trump = “feelings” and feelings trump logic.

The feeling of feeling good. The feeling of feeling strong. The feeling of punching somebody in the face because you feel like it. The feeling of being the American bully so that YOU don’t get bullied around. Of no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Trump trumps logic.

Hmmm. Then as fun it is to perform Trump, is it effective? Maybe I am just being an elitist. I am, after all, making fun. Putting him down. Like I think I am better. I am using the logic (in this case, “illogic”) of his thinking  to create punch lines. (“Who the hell does the Pope think he is? The Pope?”)

Does pointing out his illogic — whether through satire or political analysis — makes sense if the goal is to get his supporters to re-consider? Aren’t we then being — from his, and his supporters’, standards — snobs? If our goal is to prevent this man from sitting in the chair in the Oval Office, does the most effective approach rely on logic?

I am guessing not. But I don’t know.

Michael Moore warned recently of the real possibility of a Trump presidency. He was doing a press conferences in London recently and he  discusses Brexit (this was before the outcome) and then talks about the possibility of a Trump presidency (that part starts at 3:37).

He notes that none of the 17 other Republican candidates were able bring him down. Towards the end he says: “And now Hillary Clinton is trying to do the same thing, using logic… brains… things like that. It’s going to require something else. My personal …hope is that satire is what brings Trump down.”

Me, too. If anyone reading this has any suggestions, I am dying to hear them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes It’s Weird Being an American Expat

 

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I’m on my second experience as an expat. The first time in Italy and now in England. In both countries the United States is put on some other level. Like way up there, in the clouds, floating up up up, above everything and everyone else.

Italians are more than willing to crank up their necks to look up to it. They become obsequious at the thought of an American in the vicinity. There’s not that much crime in Rome but I’d always figured that I could wiggle my way out of a tight spot if I told my would-be assailant that I was from New York. Handing back my wallet, he’d say, “Veramente? Really? The Big Apple, New York?? I grattacieli! The skyscrapers. I hear you can make a killing by pickpocketing Times Square for just an hour!” For the Italians, we are an alien superior race and there is nothing the Americans can do wrong. Except cook. Even the most self-loathing Italian will say they have the best food on the plane. (I concur; you haven’t had a tomato until you’ve had an Italian tomato.)

With the Brits, it’s a bit different. They are scornful. Years ago, when I first started teaching English in Italy, I was the only American at my school. The rest were Brits and the odd Australian or two. They teased me mercilessly: about how loud I spoke, my cursing, my unabashed proclivity to discuss sex in the classroom. Not that I necessarily did any of these things but given I was American, it was assumed I did. Well, ok, so I did do pretty much all those things. But what killed me was when they said: “How can an American teach English?” Ha ha ha. Friggin’ hilarious. Dat shit ain’t funny.

me and marsha, the only other American teacher at the English school. yea, ok, we were the loudest, brashest, most ridiculous and FUNNEST.

me and marsha, the only other American teacher at the English school. yea, ok, we were the loudest, brashest, most ridiculous and FUNNEST.

And yet.

Since I’ve lived in the UK, I am constantly complimented on my accent, even when making a complaint to my Vodaphone’s customer service. “Yes, of course we’ll take care of your problem but… are you American? Lovely! Surely I can upgrade your package at no extra cost!”

Also, Brits steal American marketing ideas. In mid-November, stores all over England advertise big sales on Black Friday – signs in the stores, in the papers, on the radio. In the United States, Black Friday is a big retail sales day because, as it’s the day after Thanksgiving – which is always a Thursday – most people are off on Friday as well. But what’s odd is that there is no Thanksgiving here in Britain. (I mean, of course, not. We escape England, go hang out with the “Indians” and have a very big meal.) So there is nothing particular about that Friday. It’s Black Friday just because they say so.

Also, there are lots of American programs on the television. Like a lot. They talk about those shows like they’re their shows. Not like it’s an “American” show. It’s just a show. Which is fine. But in the US, you’ll get the occasional British program on public television on a Sunday afternoon. That’s it. So it seems that despite the scorn, the states net imports “culture” and customs to England.

It’s a love-hate thing, I guess. The colony that made good. Maybe too good and now we’re kinda show-offy. And boy, do they hate Trump. On that though, we can agree.

Which “Trumps”? Racism or Classism: Brexit

This video made the social media rounds following Brexit outcome. It actually occurred prior but that’s not important. The Leave vote played on this kind of thinking and encouraged — subliminally or otherwise — this kind of behavior.

The comments made by Remainers were mostly along the line that the “Seaford lady” is the one who should be deported, or she should be shot, or that she’s stupid and ignorant or some variety. In addition, the Brits who intervened received harsh criticism for their gentle approach.

I thought they handled it beautifully. Getting in her face would have put her on the defensive and make her dig in her heels. She was an embarrassment to the other Brits on the train and in their “polite” way, they let her know exactly that. I was touched by how kind they were to her. She is the one to pity. Read between the lines and you can hear her resentment, her sadness — yes, her sadness. She’s had a miserable life and wants to blame someone. We are so quick to judge her and brand her as “racist” (and yes, of course she is) that we lose any and all compassion for whatever might be her circumstances.And I’m guessing they are not pretty.

Yeah, she’s racist and we’re judgmental. Great. We are more educated than she is – clearly. She even refers to that. So are we being “classist”? Is that less ugly than racist? This is a significant reason for why Leave won. Many people similar to her resent the elite — which, is us, by the way. THAT is what got us here. Our exalted notion that we know more than people like her.

This is all terribly similar to the Trump dynamic. (And I doubt that it’s coincidental – Zeitgeist is at work methinks!) The Donald riles up the monstrous in people and then we call them racist and stupid which just further hardens them and supports the likes of Trump even more.

But as Jim Jeffries an Australian comic says in the video posted below, fighting hate with hate never works. It just doesn’t work. Isn’t it more important to solve the problem? And isn’t the way to do it by bridging these divides. Calling the Seaford Lady  “racist” does nothing to forward the conversation. Only compassion will.

But if being “right” is more important to you, well, then, there you go — you got your referendum outcome. And before you react to these words, before you get defensive, I ask you to please consider them. True listening, after all, is the willingness to change.

Jefferies is as brilliant as he is entertaining:

 

At the end he says: “Ok, this might be the most hippy thing that ever comes out of my mouth, but …the only thing that can beat hate is love… Now it doesn’t always beat hate but … everyone will see them as the asshole. Don’t be the asshole…”

Is Democracy Over-rated? Brexit.

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Tell people they gotta vote on something and if they don’t know a lot about it, and if don’t have time to find out about it, and if they don’t think how they vote will change much about it, then they will come up with some odd, some selfish, and some — let’s say “less than thought out” –justifications about it.

Take the mini-quiz below. One of these is not a real reason given for voting Leave. Can you figure out which one?

If you get it right, you’ll get a 33% discount on my next Miss Divine T event July 9th at Salvage Cafe, featuring the amazing soon-to-be-famous-if-I-have-anything-to-do-with-it Richard Todd. (You will be quoting his joke about Henry the Hoover for months. Promise.) I will announce winners right here on 8th July!

Add other bizarre reasons you’ve heard people use for voting Leave in the comments.

Misshapen Fruit Belong but Maybe I Don’t

 

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I saw a skinny elderly woman bobbing from house to house leaving “Leave” leaflets. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind speaking to me.

“Of course, not, dear.” The typical kindness I’ve come to expect from the British populace.

I asked her for her reasons for wanting the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

“Sovereignty!”

That that was the first word out of her mouth didn’t surprise me. It’s become a battle cry for  the Leavers. The first time I heard it was a few months ago before the referendum campaigns had gone into fever pitch. A close friend and colleague shocked everyone by announcing his intention to vote to leave. To him it was obvious. I was stunned. I asked him why:

“Sovereignty!”

In a word.

The elderly woman began to give me examples. “I used to run a B&B and there were all kinds of laws that effected us. We had to throw out misshapen fruit! The EU had laws about misshapen fruit!! It’s too much it’s just too much! ”

Sovereignty gives misshapen fruit more pride of place next to more prettily formed crop. Sovereignty also gave the UK crappy workplace and  environmental laws. Workplace fatalities in the UK have reduced by half since European safety directives were introduced in 1996. Being part of the European Union has given Britain cleaner beaches and drinking water, less air pollution, safer products and more protected wildlife

I’ve lived in a number of different places and have never have felt as much at home as I do here. But as an American with an Italian passport in a country that is no longer part of the European Union, misshapen fruit belongs whereas soon I may not.

X Marks the Brits

google images x“You know, you Americans say we Brits are so cold, but YOU’RE the cold ones.”

This was coming out of the mouth of Jon, the live-in landlord who despite dust and dirt everywhere, would freak out and scream if there were drops of water on the counter near the sink.

He continued. “You never put an x at the end of your texts.”

I wasn’t following.

“Well an x is a kiss, right?”

Yea and xoxo means kisses and hugs, so?

“You never write it at the end of your text.”

In time, I came to see that Brits do indeed put an x at the end of their texts. No matter what the person is writing about, there’s the little x. “I’m gonna stay home tonight, but thanks for the invite. x.” “Please pick up some milk. x.” “You’re a flipping cunt. x.”

When I lived in Italy, Italians wrote “baci”, which like the chocolate, means kisses.And I don’t write “baci” or “kisses “or  an “x” and I don’t write flipping “dry hump”, either.

This meant there was a flaw in The American Character?  I really hate representing the reputation of an entire nation. Besides, it’s just a letter: x.

And why, anyway, does an x represent a kiss? An “o” for a hug I can understand, I mean visually, you can get that – my arms around you, yours around me – an “o” more or less. But what kind of person makes their lips into an x – even if I am kissing you and you’re kissing me, where’s the flipping “x”? I’m sitting here in front of my computer, looking at a mirror and trying to make my lips looks like an x. The closet thing I can do is a bit of a fish mouth.

Ok. Time to google. Here’s what Wikipedia says: “The common custom of placing “X” on envelopes, notes and at the bottom of letters to mean kisses dates back to the Middle Ages, when a Christian cross was drawn on documents or letters to mean sincerity, faith, and honesty. A kiss was then placed upon the cross, by the signer as a display of their sworn oath.”

Texting “Meet you outside of Jubilee Library 4pm” isn’t something I feel the need to swear an oath by. If I’m gonna swear an oath at the end of the text, it would probably be more like, “Meet you outside of Jubilee Library 4pm, asshole.”

And yet, one does adapt so that if I look thru my texts, increasingly, I have come to, in fact, include an x at the end of texts.

I went back to google to see if others had my questions. On quora.com, a website that is like the university-educated version of Yahoo Answers, someone responded to the question, “What does it mean when British people put an X at the end of text messages or emails?” with:

“No X = for a person you know you will not get an X back from / if you are annoyed with someone / a guy you don’t really know
X = standard for any friend / a girl you don’t really know
XX = a girl you like
XXX+ = flirting / playing a game with someone / going overboard

Two funny caveats of this are;
1. Some people really do take notice of the amount of Xs they are getting. If you send XX to a girl, you may get XXX back, but if you drop back down to an X after, you almost certainly will not get XXX back again
2. People can get offended if you provide no Xs, unless you are renowned for being a no-Xer”

Best be careful or one might become “renowned.” Who knew.

And really, it’s supposed to be a little x, however for me and my iPhone, that’s extra work. If I end my sentence with a grammatically correct period, that damn auto corrector will make that x capital. So do you go back and delete the capital x and put in a small case x? I’m not saying I have answers… all I have are questions.

Cuz I don’t know.

I’m inquiring.

Go ahead, look at your texts. Isn’t there an x at the end? And when there isn’t doesn’t it feel a bit … off?  And if the other person usually ends with 2 x’s but this time wrote only one, should you read into that? I kinda doubt it but what do I know, Dumbass American that I am. x

google x

“Is there a Fourth of July in England? Yes or No.” Well…. YES!

this could be it

I was at an expat bbq picnic on Brighton beach yesterday. See, expats do things together – they make a point of finding each other and they do things like complain that you can’t find good zip-lock bags or canned Mexican chiles “in this country”. And we often laugh our asses off because we do really share something. We make fun of ourselves for being the loud, brassy ones, the ones that aren’t willing to squelch our personalities. And we all know who Oprah is.

And yesterday was July 4th and here we are in England and it had been originally pronounced that no one was to bring British food (it was frowned upon that Jennifer had brought Early Grey and lemon vodka) but we did compromise on allowing British sausages. Some of the significant others were born here, after all. There was some fantastic food and little in the way of cutlery. Laura got some tabbouleh in her mouth through some combination of gravity and eating kind of like a dog. And I met her only once before, and she claims to be shy. I do like that about Americans — we do what we have to do to get what we want and she wanted to eat tabbouleh. My favorite moment was when a smashingly fun woman from Houston (“God, I had to get out of there!”), who at one point admitted that at times she prefers animals to her grandkids, was having a hard time finding something to go with the Vodka. She had tried some mint tea but apparently that didn’t work. I got distracted speaking to someone else but out of the corner of my ear I heard someone say they’d brought CapriSun Juices for the kids and then I heard Sharon pipe up, “CapriSun … that could work as a mixer….”

The friends from London who were bringing the cutlery showed quite a few hours later. In fact, we had all finished eating and were making moves to leave and the crazy redhead of the London expats late gang said, “Don’t you people know you stay at the beach til sunset, at least to drink????” So we stayed and drank. A couple of the women sent their husbands and kids home and we drank and laughed and lit sparklers even though it was still daytime.

The Owls Have It

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When we were kids, my brother gave me a stuffed animal owl for my birthday. “Cuz your smart,” he said.

Rather than smart, now they are cool and they are everywhere. They are “in,” or at least here in Brighton, UK they are. The fashion direction has shifted so that Owl is the New Skull (you must have noticed the skulls by now). I started to notice that owls were in vogue after a documentary I watched about the white barn owl this past March (see above). This gorgeous creature makes so little noise – pretty much statistically none – that their prey don’t stand a chance. These owls don’t even have to see their prey. They just know the little rodents are underneath the bush because… they have sonar? I don’t remember what the documentary said. But it was really cool.

After that I started to see them everywhere. I first noticed the owlian influence on clothing.

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tops

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bottoms

… then jewelry…..

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necks

and bags….

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… including the more casual shopping bag.

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Even bags at charity shops.

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i really should crop this photo but i am lazy

For hand-free wear there are backpacks!

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SIX out of the seven shown with flippin’ owls!!

Wallets…

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Once I started seeing them, I couldn’t stop. It was like they were stalking me.

Home store items….like pillows….

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…little tea plates (it is England after all).

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And outdoor stuff as well…

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I took all these photos in the course of a month. Still skeptical? Check this! Tweezers, makeup bag and cosmetic mirror. All in one “swoop” – SO TO SPEAK!

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Keychains!

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Thing-a-ma-jigs!

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these are those thingys that have a tiny solar panel so they move about when placed in sunlight. TWO FLIPPING KINDS OF OWLS!

Owls apparently even have advertising pull. Look at this poster for a late night life drawing class. Granted, late night has always been owl-associated but still. (P..S. Late night drawing class is odd, I know. Remember, I am in Brighton, one of the originators of The Naked Bike Ride.]

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naked lady on bottom right. in case you missed.

Advertising for suicide counsellors…

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I don’t get the lark part, either.

I was passing by a bookstore….

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Book of the month! Owls ARE  in fashion.

…then browsing inside the bookstore.

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Well, actually, “baby” anything is always in fashion.

Speaking of books, I went to see David Sedaris who’s on a book tour promoting his latest, “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls“!

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Note the theme of the LADY’S BAG. FLIPPING EVERY-OWL-WHERE!

And in an unrelated incident, I created a Facebook event for a party:

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By the way, note the graduation hat – a callback to the owl=smart connection — yet still cool… it is after all, a party

Finally, let’s just take a look at a live one – one of my favorite videos. Did you know that they LIKE being PET? Watch this and you might want to take one home…

They are smart and cool AND cute! Better inspiration than a skeleton head, for crying out loud.

I have indeed been stalked by owls. And, perhaps not as quickly, but as quietly as the barn owl, the fashion world has seduced its prey.

David Sedaris Creates Everyday Aventure

I’ve been following his writing career for a good more than a decade. He’ll make me laugh — almost pee-in-the-pants laugh — and then suddenly, I have to catch my breath because he’s pondered a truth so poignant that it’s hard to breathe.

So when I find out he’s on a book tour (his fans are so numerous and devoted that he   reads in music auditoriums, not bookstores) and that one stop will be in Bexhill on Sea, an hours’ train ride, I know I’m going.

But the tickets sell out. In two days. 1500 seats to see a guy read.

Doesn’t matter. I take time off from my work-study job at Bikram in the Lanes and DECLARE I will find someone with an extra ticket to sell. I will WILL it to happen.

Wear my cutest outfit. (the guy’s as gay as a Christmas in Las Vegas but I want to dress up.) Train problems, we are diverted to Lewes. Tight on time. Shit! Oh well, whatever happens, happens. Let’s make the best of it. Make friends with a new philosophy grad from University of Brighton named Padraig Forham. Then an Indian man in a tuxedo complete with bow tie (he’s going to a “ball”!), named Abdul comes to sit with us and is forced to be friends with us. We play Twenty Questions about what’s Abdul’s job (Solicitor). By the time the train comes, jam-packs us in and starts moving, we rope in a Brit architect who regales us his adventures in Norway where he works a lot. (“Their language is a lot of sounds. Thank God they speak English.”)

And I think about how damn nice the Brits are.

We all part ways with some phone exchanges (the lawyer has a crush on the philosopher, pretty sure) and as I get out of the station of this new town, Bexhill on Sea, I start asking whoever is in ear’s length where the De La Warr Pavillion is because I’m going to see David Sedaris and I don’t have a ticket.

“I have an extra ticket!,” pipes up the most fabulous person is the world because she has an extra ticket to David Sedaris.

My eyes pop open, I ask her name, she tells me Leah and I hug her and tell her I love her! We scurry over to the venue — THERE’S NO ONE SELLING A TICKET OUTSIDE! LEAH ROCKS! — and that’s when I see Him. He’s sitting at a table, signing a book and chatting with a fan. He’s famous for staying hours and hours signing books and chatting with people. But this is BEFORE the show!  It’s nearly time however, so we buy drinks (when in Rome… and when in England), get to our seats and I send an email to my buddy, Lynn in San Francisco, that I got in.

He comes out wearing shorts and says, “I’m wearing shorts.” He chats with us, reads one amazing story after another, drinks a lot of water. I think it was four stories and then diary entries. He tells us little bits in between. He’s so genuine — he has an unusual, some might say odd or even eccentric way of looking at the world but his DNA is just genuine. And damn funny.

But who cares, right? Why am I writing this? Why might anyone care to read this blog post. I don’t know. But I haven’t written in a long time because life has been rough, rough, rough and — I don’t know — because I was downhearted, depressed, lonely, have gone through moments where I was actually feeling like life wasn’t worth living. I’ve had moments of true sadness alongside moments of joy when I could see that Brighton is a fantastic place to be! A very emotional time and I haven’t written any of it down. And maybe if even one of my 22 bog followers is still reading and thinking, Shit This is Boring — I DON’T CARE. And I have been caring way too much about what other people think and somehow watching a man tell a story about how how he fed his tumour (benign) to an elderly snapping turtle in a canal in South Carolina, made me not care very much about what others think. Because life is just so utterly delightful and beautiful even in the tiniest details.

That’s all.

Talking Tits

Bit redundant, no? Aren't all tits great?

Bit redundant, no? Aren’t all tits great?

Here in England, people are into their gardens and birds! It’s not that I’ve never been into birds, it’s just that there are so many. I find it a bit overwhelming. So let’s just talk about tits. Gonna use Wikipedia to learn about tits.

According to Wikipedia, “tits can be found in most of Europe, Asia, North America and Africa.” No tits in Australia or Greenland? What’s their definition of tits, I wonder. Are they calling them something else if they’re too small? Ok, let’s move on.

Wiki adds, “Tits are generally insectivores that consume a wide range of small insects and other invertebrates, particularly small defoliating caterpillars.” Tits eat insects! Who knew!  So it’s not just men that the quickest way is through the stomache! Science is fascinating.

“Tits have a variety of methods for attracting mates, primarily through their intricate, bouncing mating dance,” the article goes on to say. So tits bounce to attract attention. That isn’t entirely surprising. They are pretty lively.

According to Wikipedia: “Many African tit species are cooperative breeders.” Seems to me that all tits cooperate with breeding.

One last interesting bit about tits: “Only the blue tit is typically polygynous: all other species are generally monogamous.”

Slut

Slut

I live to learn and I think I speak for you all.

p.s. needed a bit of silly outrageous fun today, what with writing/sending academic cv’s all week. job hunting is a blast — so not!